The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway has a long history, and efforts are now underway to rebuild substantial portions of the line. In parallel to this real world expansion a number of model railway companies have started to produce models related to the railway, specifically the station at Woody Bay. For example, here is a photo of the station as well as a photo of the model produced by Bachmann.
Now while the model is exceptionally detailed there are a couple of things that are missing or not quite right. Most obviously the chimney pots are wrong. The real chimneys are quite ornate and very distinctive, yet the model has very plain chimney pots. Also the roof sports ornate finials which are entirely missing from the model. I'm guessing both these changes were made as the details would be too fine to mass produce and would have had to be hand fitted increasing the cost of the models.
Given that I'm not modelling the Lynton and Barnstaple railway I hadn't actually noticed the problem as I'd not looked closely at the models. The members of the Lynton and Barnstaple Modelling Yahoo! Group had noticed though and they asked Narrow Planet if they would be willing to produce 3D printed chimney pots and finials to complement the building models. At this point you may be asking how I know this? The answer is that I'm the newest Narrow Planet designer, and the chimney pots and finials are the first products I've designed to be released.
Working from scale drawings and plenty of photos I was able to produce a 3D model of both the chimney pots and the finials, and I've now received the first test prints. I find photographing raw FUD prints difficult as all the detail tends to disappear so I painted one chimney to help show the detail (RailMatch freight Bauxite followed by a thin black wash).
Personally I think these have turned out really nicely and as there was no problem with the test prints they are now available to buy. They aren't listed yet on the Narrow Planet website, but you can order them via e-mail. A sprue of 10 chimneys will set you back £6, while a sprue of 10 finials will cost you £3; both those prices include UK P&P. Hopefully the odd chimney pots will appeal to a wide range of modellers who might be looking for something a little different as well as those modelling the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway.
For those wondering what this means for Penistone Railway Works my answer is that for now you won't see any difference. All the models that are currently available will remain so, and there may be new models in the future that don't fit well with Narrow Planet. What it does mean though is that I can now contemplate models which would only be possible using multiple materials rather than just single printed items sold via Shapeways. Hopefully this will mean more models for everyone to enjoy.